Socialism urges

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By Marcos Aurélio da Silva*

Only a society organized in a socialist way can withstand a situation like the one we are experiencing

A Harvard University Department of Epidemiology study published in Science concludes that without a vaccine against Covid-19 intermittent quarantine strategies will be necessary at least until 2022. And we may have new outbreaks every year, or biannually, concludes the same study.

Under these conditions, no economy and society can survive dominated by the capitalist logic of the laws of supply and demand. Or, more precisely, where the State serves to support this ideology, which is definitely misoneist and conservative.

Former President Lula said the other day that the State needs to issue money. Correct conclusion, but that's not all. It is about the fact that only a society organized in a SOCIALIST way — or by progressively socializing policies, capable of organizing a new synthesis at a given moment — can support such a situation.

And it is not a matter of thinking that the virus made socialism urgent, as if an external phenomenon, born of nature, was capable of this. Contrary to what conspiracy theories say, the virus is obviously a biological phenomenon, linked to natural processes and their mutations.

Just as it was not the bubonic plague that put an end to feudalism, but rather the historical contradictions that were already forming within the Middle Ages, the same ones that led to the democratization of landed property, the embryo of the English Kulack, so now are the contradictions of the capitalism that are calling into question the very mode of production.

In a word, its current form of organization, financialized and speculative, concentrating property and income, is not capable of providing a response to a large natural constraint. Capitalism is not capable of dominating nature in the demands posed by the present, because capitalism no longer creates productive forces — technical, but also social, as the distance from an impoverished view of this concept demands ―; capitalism now destroys them.

In the mid-XNUMXth century, it was the regions where serfdom was closest to slavery that suffered the most from the plague, causing lords to be forced to slow down their forms of exploitation. Not without struggles, as the periodicals remind jacqueries ― the great peasant revolts, usually violent, burning Churches, promoting a desertion en masse of the producers.

These are the regions that today resemble our Ecuador, which, with the foreign debt hanging in front of it, is forced to throw the corpses of Covid-19 in the streets. And what about the slums of the Third World, when the virus there begins to spread, every biennium, mercilessly? It will be the time of news jacqueries, demanding new social relations, with their corresponding legal forms? Namely, the forms of a State that is not the vehicle of a conservative and particularist ideology — but rigorously a social State.

There will be no lack of resistance to this passage from the “passionate selfish moment” to the “political ethical moment”. Every liberal order, whether obscurantist or the most “enlightened”, will rise up against it, speaking of the creation of conditions for a “State of exception”, of authoritarian societies and totalitarianism.

Seeing the recent article by Giorgio Agamben in Italian The poster (“State d'eccezione per un'emergenza immotivata”), typical of gait postmodernism that now hegemons the world of dissent, by allowing itself to accept the confusion that “all State coercion” — to recall a passage from Gramsci — is necessarily “slavery”, and not “self-discipline”.

A new slavery is certainly the project of the extreme right that is now in vogue, from Viktor Orbán to Bolsonaro. But a rigorous dialectic demands a “determined negation”, the negation of a “determined content”, and not the liquidation tuot court of State.

Indeed, the socialism that is urgently needed also requires a struggle on the ground of ideologies.

*Marcos Aurélio da Silva is professor of geography at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC).

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